Getting back to .500 has been achieved. Now, the Miami Marlins (62-62) hope to comfortably go over with their next five games against teams in last place.
Miami hosts the Texas Rangers (48-76), who sit 25 back in the American League West and have dropped seven of their last 10, for a two-game set. They avoided a sweep of the Los Angeles Angels with a ninth-inning rally on Sunday.
The Marlins are 3 1/2 games out of the second NL wild-card spot. They are 7-3 over their past 10 games and have three straight series victories over the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks.
When the teams met in Arlington in mid-June, they split two contests. This quick getaway will mark the first trip to Marlins Park for the Rangers.Texas has won four in a row in South Florida, including seven of nine overall. The all-time series swings 10-7 in the Rangers’ favor.
Right-hander Jarred Cosart will make his third start with the Marlins since being acquired at the trade deadline. In his previous outing, he outpitched last year’s NL Cy Young runner-up Adam Wainwright with seven scoreless innings, scattering three hits with a walk and three strikeouts. In three previous outings against the Rangers, Cosart is 1-1 with a 5.50 ERA. Righty Miles Mikolas, of Jupiter, Fla., is 1-5 with a 7.71 ERA in eight starts. He is coming off a forgettable appearance in which the Tampa Bay Rays scored 10 runs on nine hits over six innings with three homers.
Nathan Eovaldi has won just once since June 28, but the righty has rediscovered his velocity (frequenting 98 and 99 mph). He has gone at least six innings in five of his last six outings. In a loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, he allowed four runs (two earned) on eight hits over six frames. His previous two starts included 15 innings of one-run ball with 12 strikeouts. Another local, righty Nick Martinez, will start for the Rangers. He has dropped eight of his last nine decisions and has completed the sixth inning just twice in those games. Martinez has also allowed four runs or more on seven occasions during that span.
Here’s a look at the upcoming Rangers-Marlins series…
OF Leonys Martin (Rangers): Not many hot bats for the Rangers, though Martin went 3 for 7 with a walk in two starts during the Angels series. He is batting .314 over his last 10 games. Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo went 3 for 12 with four runs, a homer and a walk against Los Angeles.
RF Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins): With a homer and four RBI in the series finale against the D-backs, Stanton now leads the majors in the former category and the NL in the latter. Over his last 10 games, he is hitting .364 with seven runs, five homers, 12 RBI, 10 walks and seven strikeouts (none over his past three contests).
OF Alex Rios (Rangers): Over his last 10 games, Rios is batting .118 with 4 hits in 34 at-bats. He does not have any multi-hit games during this stretch with just three runs and five RBI. Rios has struck out seven times and not walked once. His average has dropped from .296 to .284.
3B Casey McGehee (Marlins): After multi-hit games in five of six, McGehee has since gone 2 for 16 with a homer, a walk and four strikeouts. He grounded into three double plays during the Arizona series and leads all NL players with 25 this season.
23: RBI since the All-Star break for Rangers catcher J.P Arencibia, tied for fourth most in the majors
2.000: Slugging percentage for Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre against Cosart in six at-bats (four hits, two homers)
50: Percent of Miami’s wins this season have been by one run (31 of 62)
2: Texans pitching against the Rangers — Cosart is from League City and Eovaldi from Houston
"A lot of good things going on out there. These guys are having fun and to see guys rise to the occasion and make big pitches. We’re in unchartered waters with a lot of our guys as far as having a chance and seeing the playoffs in front of us and what we need to do. But that’s all good stuff." — Manager Mike Redmond on the club’s postseason chase
"That’s good for me. I mean I haven’t broken 100 yet here. I had one season but that was combined I believe (in the minors and majors). I mean, it’s helping us win. That’s more than any single accolade I could have." — Slugger Giancarlo Stanton on surpassing his career high with 88 RBI
"Getting back to .500’s huge because I don’t think any team’s making the playoffs under .500. We know we have a lot of work to do and there’s a bunch of teams ahead of us. To sit here and say we’re all satisfied being at .500 — I don’t think that’s the case. We know what we need to do and we’ve got to continue to play good baseball." — Right-hander Tom Koehler on reaching .500 in the grand scheme of things
PROMOTIONS & GIVEAWAYS
August 19 — Half Price Tuesday
August 20 — Chevron Crazy’s Wednesday; Businessperson Special group offer
August 21 — Offday; Aug. 22-24 — Marlins at Rockies